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Dallas and Green Bay Continue Storied Postseason Duels 11

Posted on January 11, 2015 by Chris Kent
Bart Starr scores the winning touchdown in "The Ice Bowl" in 1967

Bart Starr scores the winning touchdown in “The Ice Bowl” on this one yard plunge into the end zone.

The Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers. Need anyone say anymore? Despite that, there is plenty to talk about. Especially when the two of them meet in the NFL playoffs because memories abound. Chief among them is “The Ice Bowl” which was played on Dec. 31, 1967 at Lambeau Field. The winner was the champion of the NFL (which became the NFC) and advanced to Super Bowl II to meet the champion of the American Football League (which later became known as the AFC). This game is one of the most storied in the history of the National Football League. The postseason series resumes today when the Packers host the Cowboys in the NFC divisional playoffs.

The temperature at game time was -15 oF and the wind chill was about -48 oF. While Green Bay had the home field advantage that day, the elements were surely not friendly to either side. What edge the Packers had came from them just being used to it more during that time of the year compared to their visitors. It was so cold that attempts to heat the field backfired, transportation problems occurred, and equipment malfunctioned. Even though a tarpaulin covered the field in the days leading up to the game, it left moisture on the field which froze in a flash after the tarpaulin was removed. This created an icy surface on the field that got worse as the game wore on. The turf-heating system for the field malfunctioned and many players had difficulty starting their cars forcing them to make alternative transportation plans in order to get to the stadium on time. When the game did finally begin, referee Norm Schachter blew his whistle only to have it freeze to his lips. Upon freeing it from his lips, he ripped his skin off. The resulting blood just froze to his lips. The marching band from Wisconsin-State University LaCrosse (now The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse) could not perform their pre-game and half-time shows as their instruments froze and would not play. Several band members also got transported to area hospitals for hypothermia. This was literally a test of attrition and the limits of the human body were tested for every player, coach, official, fan, worker, and media person that day.

In the end, Green Bay won 21-17 on one of the most famous plays in NFL history. Bart Starr’s quarterback sneak from the

The bitter cold is shown hear from the fans' breath during "The Ice Bowl"

The bitter cold is shown hear from the breath of the fans cheering in the stands during “The Ice Bowl”

one-yard line on third and goal with 16 seconds left to play provided the winning score. Starr had called timeout prior to the play to discuss strategy with Green Bay coach Vince Lombardi. Knowing that the traction was difficult with the icy field, handing off to a running back or stepping back to make a throw would have been difficult. So Starr convinced Lombardi to sneak it in. In doing so, Starr followed a double team wedge block from right guard Jerry Kramer and center Ken Bowman against Dallas left defensive tackle Jethro Pugh to cross the goal line for the decisive score and a 20-17 lead. The extra point provided the final score. Dallas would down the ensuing Packers’ kickoff and could manage only two incompletions which ended the game. Jubliant Green Bay fans rushed onto the field knocking over players from both teams. It was the end to an iconic game in NFL annals.

Since then, Dallas and Green Bay have also had some lofty playoff history. For three straight seasons during the 1990’s, the Cowboys and Packers met in the playoffs. These meetings came at the height of the Cowboys dynasty period during the decade. Dallas won all three times and all three games were played at Texas Stadium in Irving, TX, the Cowboys prior home to their current plush digs at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX which opened in 2009. Behind the offensive brilliance of “the triplets” – Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, and Michael Irvin – along with a fast and aggressive defense, Dallas ended Green Bay’s season three straight years from 1993 through 1995 by a combined score of 100-53. The Cowboys beat Green Bay in the NFC divisional playoffs following the 1993 and 1994 seasons by respective scores of 27-17 and 35-9. The most memorable of those three games then came after the 1995 season when the two met for the NFC Championship. A very competitive game went back and forth into the fourth quarter before Dallas wore the Packers down en route to a 38-27 win. Smith ran 35 times for 150 yards and three touchdowns in the win which were all single game postseason career highs for him. Smith’s 35 carries and three touchdowns were also Cowboys single game playoff records which still stand as of this article. Read the rest of this entry →

College Football Championship Game Preview 2015 1

Posted on January 08, 2015 by Dave Zamzack
Oregon and Ohio State will battle in the first championship game in the new playoff format.

Oregon and Ohio State will battle in the first championship game in the new playoff format.

After what indeed felt like a tremendously long season, the curtain has been drawn; revealing the final stage in what should be an epic showdown for the ages.

The Oregon Ducks will go head-to-head with the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship, with the event taking place on January 12.

In the drama-filled inaugural season of the new playoff system has officially came to its finale when the two showcase semi-final matchups concluded. This game will be something for the memory banks, as two powerhouses collide in a show unlike what any of our eyes have witnessed thus far. That’s a Guarantee.

Which Team Will Keep Rolling?

The Ducks just did what was thought to be the impossible by putting an untimely beat down upon the defending champions, the Florida State Seminoles. Ending the team’s magical win streak of 29 games, with a bewildering loss which resulted in the 59-20, Oregon victory.

Urban Meyer is easily considered one of the greatest coaches in the game, if not all-time. The Ducks however, have one of the most elite groups the sport has ever seen in the entire nation within the last half-decade or so. The team features one of the most skilled and readily utilized quarterbacks in the Heisman winner Marcus Mariota.

It wasn’t until later on in the evening that the heavily favored Alabama Crimson Tide were swiftly cut down by the Buckeyes, when a rather surprising show of heroics was made by quarterback, Cardale Jones, who just so happened to be a third-stringer. Nick Saban’s band of brothers was blindsided as the final result came to a shocking 45-32 close. Read the rest of this entry →

Fiesty Football Legend Clarke Hinkle 8

Posted on January 04, 2015 by Dean Hybl

The Sports Then and Now Vintage Athlete is an all-time football great who was the NFL’s career rushing leader at the time of his retirement.

Considering that the NFL career rushing yardage record today stands at 18,355 yards, it might seem strange to know that when Clarke Hinkle retired in 1941 he was top runner in NFL history with 3,860 yards. Read the rest of this entry →

Remembering Sports Greats Lost in 2014 6

Posted on December 31, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Earl Morrall spent 22 seasons in the NFL and helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a perfect record in 1972.

Earl Morrall spent 21 seasons in the NFL and helped lead the Miami Dolphins to a perfect record in 1972.

One inevitable component of the end of the year is reflecting on those who we lost during the previous year. As always, we said goodbye to many sports greats during 2014.

Below are brief remembrances of just a few of those who passed away in 2014. Click here to check out a more comprehensive list.

Jean Beliveau – Hockey Hall of Famer – 83 years old
A member of the Montreal Canadiens for 20 years and a member of the NHL Hall of Fame, Jean Beliveau helped lead his team to 10 Stanley Cup Championships and is considered by many as one of the 10 greatest players in NHL history.

Rob Bironas – NFL Kicker – 36 years old
After bouncing around the Arena Football League and several NFL tryouts, Rob Bironas finally got his shot with the Tennessee Titans in 2005 and was their kicker for nine seasons before being released prior to the 2014 season. He developed into a Pro Bowl kicker and scored 1,032 points while converting 85.7% of his field goal attempts.

Rubin “Hurricane” Carter – Professional Boxer – 76 years old
Best known by many for the feature film “The Hurricane” in which Denzel Washington chronicled his life as a professional boxer and 20 years in prison, Rubin Carter had a career record of 27-12-1 as a middleweight and lost to Joey Giardello in his only championship bought. He was twice convicted of a triple murder, but the conviction was eventually overturned and Carter became a champion for those wrongly accused of crimes. Read the rest of this entry →

NFL Playoffs Include Many Familiar Faces 6

Posted on December 29, 2014 by Dean Hybl
Led by quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray the Dallas Cowboys seem to have their best chance at making a playoff run since the days of Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman.

Led by quarterback Tony Romo and running back DeMarco Murray the Dallas Cowboys seem to have their best chance at making a playoff run since the days of Emmitt Smith and Troy Aikman.

Technically the NFL trend of having at least five teams earn postseason bids after missing the playoffs the previous season held to form with the 2014 season, but there is something extremely familiar about all the teams vying to reach Super Bowl 49 (if the NFL isn’t going to use Roman Numerals for 50, I feel no obligation to use them for the upcoming game).

Six of the eight division champions for 2014 also won their division a year ago with Cincinnati yielding to Pittsburgh (though both teams are in the playoffs) and the Dallas Cowboys soaring past the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC East.

Surprisingly, the longest playoff droughts to end this season belong to the Cowboys and the Arizona Cardinals, who both last reached the playoffs in 2009. The Steelers and the Detroit Lions last reached the playoffs following the 2011 season.

After winning the Super Bowl following the 2012 campaign, the Baltimore Ravens missed the postseason in 2013, but are now in the playoffs for the sixth time in the last seven years.

The four teams receiving a bye should be of little surprise, though in our “what have you done for me lately” society all four were written off at some point during the season.

Both the Green Bay Packers and New England Patriots were sold down the river before the season had reached October, only to both rebound for 12 win seasons.

The defending champion Seattle Seahawks looked vulnerable after three early season losses and some less than inspiring offensive performances, but recovered to again win the NFC West and earn home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos looked powerful early, but seemed to lose some of their offensive compulsion in the final six weeks of the campaign and “limped” to a 12 win season, though that does represent the lowest victory total in Manning’s three seasons with the team.

The first weekend of playoff games should be quite interesting as each game has an interesting storyline.

The first game of the weekend will feature a team on their third quarterback traveling to face a team that finished the season with a losing record and actually had to win their last four games just to reach the postseason. The Carolina Panthers won five fewer games than in 2013, but surprisingly became the first team to repeat as NFC South champions since the division formed in 2002. Their opponents, the Arizona Cardinals, looked like a Super Bowl contender before losing their top two quarterbacks and leading rusher. Even with their third quarterback they seem to be a superior squad to the Panthers, but this will likely be a hard fought game where the home field could be enough to help Carolina pull out a win.
Read the rest of this entry →

Super Bowl Favorites After Week 11 5

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Niko de Jonge
Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals are the favorites to reach the Super Bowl, but with six games left anything can happen.

Larry Fitzgerald and the Arizona Cardinals have the best record in football, but are still not the favorites to reach the Super Bowl.

We are now heading into Week 12 in the NFL and the teams have started to really define themselves as contenders or pretenders for this year’s Super Bowl.  With almost every team having played 10 games thus far the playoff picture has really started to present itself as teams get ready for the stretch run.

Below I’ll look at some of the favorites and include their current odds from reputable sportsbook Bovada.lv.  According to this Bovada sportsbook review, they’re a great sportsbook for American bettors.

Arizona Cardinals 10/1

One surprise is the team that currently leads the NFL with a 9-1 record.  The Arizona Cardinals have had a remarkable year so far, posting this record in arguably the toughest division in the National Football League.  With the Cards performing so well, the Seahawks and 49ers, who have been at the top of the league for the past few seasons are in a real tough spot when it comes to qualifying for the playoffs. Not all is good with the Cards though.  They lost their franchise quarterback Carson Palmer for the remainder of the season.  They won their first game without Palmer under center last week over a strong Lions team, so all might not be lost.  According to Bovada Sportsbook, even though they have the best record in the NFL, the Cards are still only the 4th favorites to win the Super Bowl with odds of 10/1.

Let’s look at the 3 teams being given a better shot than the Cards.

New England Patriots 4/1

The Pats are looking like a Championship contender once again.  They’re 8-2 on the season and are currently riding a 6 game winning streak.  The Pats are currently tied with the Green Bay Packers as having the best point differential in the league at +105 and Tom Brady and company look like they haven’t lost a step having scored the second most points in the league to this point.

Add in the fact that the Pats simply blew out the Colts and the Broncos, two top end teams in their last two games and you can see why this team is a 4/1 favorite to win the Super Bowl this season. Read the rest of this entry →

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